Dear Graduate…

To the graduating class of 2019, confetti is indeed falling from the sky in celebration!  While you will hear pregnant quotes about what awaits you tomorrow and the years to come, there’s more to it!  Entering into the world requires an immediate understanding of self and the surprise of accepting who you were all along. Consider, if you will, some practical advice concerning you and your future!

Know yourself well

The one-size fits all solution for living a happy and healthy life does not exist.  It helps if you know your drive and degree of expectation to finish tasks; your interests, whether they are long marathons, quick sprints, or slow-meandering walks; as well as your need to value simplicity or over-indulgence.  By knowing your patterns of ambition, only you can succeed when it comes to establishing a work ethic, controlling finances, and quickly surrendering to change.

Who do you want to become?

In yearbooks, one of the most popular statements written is “never change.” You’ll find it doesn’t matter who you were in school.  The experiences in those future chapters will transform your thoughts, hobbies, and better define the term of achievement. You will improve with age.   Set a few realistic goals for yourself and make them happen!

Maintain those childhood friendships

Social media has made the ties of friendship easier to maintain.  While you may not want to hold tight to everyone, make a promise to those who offered unconditional support and friendship during your childhood.  Perhaps not today or in the next five years, but there will be a time when those friends will be an anchor during moments of heartbreak, and there will be many.  And, they, too, will need you just as much!

Make the introduction, expand your group of friends

Hold out your right hand, look the individual in the eye, and state your name.  Meeting as many people as possible forges connections, and perhaps may introduce you to a new group, activity, or experience. As you learn more about others, others certainly will help you learn more about yourself.

Say yes to traveling

If your friends want to plan a trip for the weekend or to a week-long destination internationally, try and make it happen.  Seeing the world is much easier in your 20s, with fewer financial obligations to hold you back.  You’ll always be glad you took the time to experience new places and cultures in pleasant company.

Prevent bad situations from happening

According to a report in November of 2018, the top four causes of death among the ages of 15 to 24 are motor vehicle accidents, suicide, homicide, and drugs and alcohol.  Even though you may feel immortal, situations will arise that may initially feel unavoidable. You can make a plan by telling roommates where you are going, and having someone responsible on stand-by if you need a ride home. Leaving uncomfortable situations and feeling safe is playing the game of life with smarts!

Hold high expectations for yourself

In adulthood, you no longer have to go along with the crowd or feel peer pressure. No one will push you around or take advantage of your kindness if you create expectations for yourself.  Think about your values and mentally define what values you hold dear.   Remember, not everyone you meet will be genuine or honest.  It’s vital you learn how to end dysfunctional or over-bearing relationships. Control comes when you maintain higher standards.

Career decisions

Don’t assume college is the definitive answer to success.  While the piece of paper certifying your education in a specific field has weight and merit, it is not the only means toward financial independence.  Learning a trade may open the door to establishing a business, and perhaps even security.  Consider your options, and talk with as many people as possible, especially if you seek to join the military, National Guard, or pursue opportunities through the State Department.

Celebrate every new year, every birthday!  

In a blink, the calendar will reveal the year 2029, and you, dear graduate, will wonder how the past ten years flew by so quickly. Similarly to your year of birth, time also will center on your graduation from high school, and possibly, college.  Every day and year is a gift.  Celebrate it well with beloved members of the family, especially your parents, grandparents, siblings, and closest friends.  It is wise not to look down upon your age or the years ahead.  A life well lived centers on the extraordinary people who stand around you!


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